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Belarus: President Appoints Supporter Constitutional Court Chairman

Minsk, 10 December 1996 (RFE/RL) -- A Constitutional Court judge in Belarus who has been President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's staunchest supporter has been named by Lukashenka as the body's acting chairman.

President Lukashenka's office announced the appointment of Judge Ryhor Vasilievich yesterday. He was named to the post last week.

Belarus's Constitutional Court currently has only 4 sitting judges out of a required 11. Seven judges resigned last week to protest President Lukashenka's failure to abide by the court's rulings. The court, among other things, ruled that last month's referendum extending Lukashenka's powers and ushering in a new constitution should be non-binding, but Lukashenka has pronounced the results law.

According to Belarus's new constitution, six of the Constitutional Court's judges must be appointed by the upper chamber of parliament, which has yet to be created.